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BT Announce UK Pilot Locations for 330Mbps FTTP on Demand Service

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 (11:03 am) - Score 2,694

BTOpenreach has today announced a list of 8 telephone exchanges that will be used to conduct the first pilot of their unique FTTP-On-Demand service, which allows BT to deploy “ultra-fast330Mbps capable fibre optic broadband speeds to almost anywhere that their existing FTTC service has covered (66% of the UK by the end of 2014).

At present BT’s deployment of Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband is dominated by slower FTTC technology, which currently delivers variable (distance dependent) download speeds of up to 80Mbps (Megabits per second). Sadly only a tiny number of areas (15 telephone exchanges so far) can access its native / true fibre optic Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) service that runs the fibre all the way to your premises for stable 330Mbps speeds.

The new FTTP-On-Demand solution aims to solve this by giving consumers and businesses, specifically those already covered by an FTTC service, the option to upgrade to FTTP. But the installation of such a “premium” product won’t come cheap (possibly over £1000+) and that will make it less viable for domestic consumers.

BTOpenreachs Mike Witts told ISPreview.co.uk:

Essentially if you were to order FTTP on demand you’d be ordering the construction of a separate, parallel, all-fibre infrastructure (the same as our current FTTP infrastructure) which doesn’t involve the existing copper line (hence the extra costs involved).”

Mike Galvin, BTOpenreachs MD of Network Investment, said:

FTTP on Demand has great potential and so we are proceeding with these pilots. Whilst we believe FTTC will be our mass market consumer product for some time yet, FTTP may be of interest to small and medium sized businesses and so we want to make it accessible throughout our fibre footprint. This development can potentially help SMEs to compete both at home and abroad as well as maintain and create jobs across the UK.”

BTOpenreach also intends to run the service in two pilot phases, which have been detailed below.

Pilot Phase One

This is intended to test the planning and construction process and will run from July 2012 to early 2013, allowing participating CPs to place orders for a 330Mbps downstream, and either 20 or 30Mbps upstream service in parts of High Wycombe, Bristol South as well as in St Agnes, Cornwall; where the service was first trialled. Edinburgh’s Waverley exchange will be added to the pilot in September 2012.

Pilot Phase Two

This is to run from March to May 2013, will test new automated order processes, and focus on the 330Mbps downstream, 30Mbps upstream product. In addition to the first four areas, this phase will see the pilot extended to parts of Watford, Cardiff, Basingstoke, and Manchester Central.

The final commercial launch of FTTP-On-Demand is then anticipated to happen during Spring 2013. According to Openreach, ISPs “will be able to order the service where there is interest and then assist Openreach with the cost of deployment“. We suspect that most ISPs will not be too keen to absorb a large chunk of this cost as doing so would not be economical.

At this stage there’s no official line on pricing and the pilot will be used to help inform that consideration, although it’s safe to say that related installations could end up being quite expensive. Any installation fee is also “highly likely to be distance dependent given the nature of the necessary work“. So if you live very far from your local street cabinet then you’d better have deep pockets.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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27 Responses
  1. DTMark says:

    “Essentially if you were to order FTTP on demand you’d be ordering the construction of a separate, parallel, all-fibre infrastructure (the same as our current FTTP infrastructure) which doesn’t involve the existing copper line (hence the extra costs involved).”

    Like cable, you mean? Separate co-ax and old copper phone line supplied together.

    That doesn’t cost £1k+ to install – I wonder how Virgin do it, and manage to supply that last 1km infrastructure to (nearly) every single one of their customers.

    Must be something to do with the age and suitability of the different networks to implement modern broadband services.

    I can’t see many SMEs paying such a ludicrous sum to get a slightly faster broadband connection if they’re lucky enough to be really close to the cabinet and have a good line.

    I do see other SMEs being forced into paying it just to get a competent broadband connection when the above isn’t true.

  2. FibreFred says:


    What did I tell you here:- http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2012/05/bt-detail-11th-june-uk-launch-and-prices-for-330mbps-fibre-optic-broadband.html#comment-5938

    I said it would be a 330Mbps service and you scoffed, yet… here it is being announced 🙂

    I’m sure it will be expensive but surely its better to have it available as an option

  3. Deduction says:

    I didnt scoff i stated i doubt they will give it a 330Mbps speed tag from the start. I still stand by that claim. These are “TESTS” not the final product.

    I hope you keep track of links right up until the end of 2013 and the first half of 2014, because its gonna be around that time (as i also predicted) that this will become a proper retail product.

    I tell you right now for numerous reasons this is NOT going to run at 330Mbps for most people. They cant advertise it as UPTO either and the moment they try that it will be reported to the ASA.

    This product despite what some things in the news item point towards is in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM the same as BTs true FTTP solution. This in no way shape or form is a FIXED RATE product…. NO FIBRE product that uses GPON is.

    Im not going to argue with you on this, as soon as i click post comment below this link will be bookmarked, and then come 2014 we will see who is right.

    I also see they still give no indications of costs, or setup either, which is going to be the other interesting (read as rip off hilarity) issue.

    1. FibreFred says:

      Who said fixed rate? No residential broadband service is.

      I knew you’d scream trial 😉

      You said 330Mbps was not feasible or possible with on-demand yet… here comes the trial

    2. Deduction says:

      NOwhere does it say this will run at 330Mb and secondly it is only tests Its says so right in the phase one and two parts.

      Mark should perhaps alter the story to read BTs CLAIMED 330Mb product.

      You are daydreaming if you think this will go at 330Mb, their REAL FTTP product still only runs at 110Mbps AND THAT IN EVERY SHAPE AND FOR is superior.

    3. FibreFred says:

      From the press release:-

      “Openreach today revealed a list of eight locations where it will pilot the delivery of ‘FTTP on Demand’. This service, which Openreach intends to make commercially available from Spring 2013, will enable customers to order an ultra-fast 330Mbps broadband connection directly to their home or business in an area served by Fibre to the Cabinet”


      Sounds like you’ll be able to order ultra-fast 330Mbps broadband to me?

      As for straight FTTP well that has already been trialled at 330Mbps and should be available to buy now http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/5236-pricing-for-openreach-330-mbps-service-announced.html

    4. DTMark says:

      It isn’t fibre from the exchange to the premises, and it isn’t a fixed rate link as I understand it e.g. it is not intended to be the same as a leased line.

      However presumably it would be possible to offer a fixed rate service even though it’s a contended service at the cabinet, by putting aside 330Mbps of bandwidth at that point for that user.

      However the ongoing cost of this is probably going to be not entirely dissimilar to the cost of a 330Mbps leased line for the same reason especially if you want a similar SLA to go with it.

      In our town, I would rent an office but none of them are serviced by FTTC so the service would not be available; the business areas and business park have been left out. I wonder how common that is, because it’s a comment I’ve heard from others too.

      So while it’s lovely that some resiedntial users could potentially get 330Mbps it still leaves businesses in our local town with upstream bandwidth that would embarrass a 3G connection and not much in the way of downstream either: ADSL2+

      In the main only the residentials could actually order fibre on demand. There’s no cable, so perhaps a few will, but I can’t see it selling like proverbial hot cakes.

    5. FibreFred says:

      “So while it’s lovely that some residential users could potentially get 330Mbps it still leaves businesses in our local town with upstream bandwidth that would embarrass a 3G connection and not much in the way of downstream either: ADSL2+”

      Sorry DTMark but I’ve no compassion for businesses that want similar leased line connectivity for residential prices. If your business is reliant on the internet and requires high speeds it needs to be factored in your business plan just like staff wages and rent. Its just more of the “I want something for nothing culture”

    6. DTMark says:

      I’m not sure why you’re apologising to me 🙂

      I thought I was supporting your point that a fixed rate service like a leased line is not going to be offered at the on-demand price because the nature of the services isn’t meant to be the same. A guaranteed fixed rate of 330Mbps is going to cost big money no matter who supplies it.

      My point is that instead of moving house, it would be possible for me to rent an office in our local town if there were any modern broadband services there that I knew I could rely on.

      FTTC might be such a service, perhaps, don’t know how far the business park is from the cab. Except based on the schedule there aren’t any plans to offer FTTC to those areas. So therefore, in turn, fibre on demand is a non-starter.

      And those are allegedly the target customers.

  4. Deduction says:

    Already in breach of ASA rules then. Cant advertise that speed unless they can prove more than 10% can achieve it and as the tech isnt even tested yet they cant.

    1. Somerset says:

      Not yet an advertised product.

    2. FibreFred says:

      “Not yet an advertised product.”

      True but I’m unsure how the rules work for new products. I mean how can you say whether a product will or won’t work at the advertised speeds until you’ve got a decent size user base.

      The sampling data needs to be updated every 6 months to back up their figures so maybe they’ve got 6 months initially to back up the claim.

    3. Deduction says:

      The rules clearly state at least 10% of the userbase must be able to receive any speed claimed/advertised. The product does not yet exist so they can not claim it will run at 330Mbps to at least 10% of users.

      @YOUR NEW ID…. I rubbish anything which is rubbish, im not adverse to bashing Virgin, BE, BT or others where it is warranted. The difference between you and me is you get annoyed when i rubbish a company and have to go on the personal attack, i then give better than you dish and you dont like it. Thats the difference between you and me, my inital comments ARE ALWAYS about the news item, which can not be said for you.

    4. Deduction says:

      PS almost forgot……

      They have shot thereself in the foot as previously they have claimed the ondemand product and trials will be an UPTO speed rated product……

      One for the ASA to deal with methinks.

  5. Deduction says:

    Yep definitely in violation of ASA rules, ill draw up a complaint to them this weekend. Get those BS claims removed like the Virgin ones 🙂

  6. FibreFred says:

    Well the comments to say are to be expected. Brits love a good moan.

    They moan that we are behind in the fibre to the home leaderboards
    They moan we don’t have access to fibre and our broadband speeds are so poor
    They moan the main telco in the country aren’t doing enough and should do more

    And when a product starts to trial that was on the roadmap to bring FTTP availability to the vast majority of the UK

    They moan 🙂

  7. Darren says:

    haha, I think Deduction is english, instead of damn he says darn, which is probably what an america would say. I also doubt his motive here. Smells of being paid to camp here and rubbish BT at every oportunity, with his persisent, never wrong attitude and the utter rubbish he consistently comes out with. Ruins the site a bit for me, couldn’t read the 150+ comment in the other item, too much petty guff. Shame.

    Personaly I don’t see what the problem is. I wouldn’t want or expect a guaranteed 330Mbps from this product, because it would probably push the monthly cost up towards leased line levels, and it’s supoosed to be a cheaper alternative to a leased line, isn’t it? You can’t have it all.

    An oportunity to have FTTP installed without the high monthly leased line costs is very exciting for me, I’m lucky enough to live close to the cab so get good speeds, but, recently started getting lots of errors during the evening. DLM took a handfull of speed, added delay and enabled interleving and inpulse noise protection.

    Whatever the cause was for the errors they are now fewer and don’t occur as often, as a result DLM has restored the speed plus a bit more and turned off interleaving ect. Which I’m very happy about. This performance roller coaster wouldn’t exist with fiber though, so I’m even happyer for the option to get it if my copper/ali d-side degrades too much, or is subject to incurable interference.

    The high speed would be nice to have but stability would be the main factor for me.

    It would probably add a bit of value to the house aswell, with the new owner not haveing to shell out the install costs should they want FTTPOD.

  8. SlowSomerset says:

    Typical of Bt when a lot of exchanges have not been upgraded to even the 21CN Standard.

    1. New_Londoner says:

      By that logic, you would avoid providing more mains electricity or sewerage capacity anywhere until the entire country was connected to the service. Just because one area is viewed as unattractive for investment does not mean that other areas should not benefit from more.

      I would have thought your comments would be best directed towards the county council. How is it progressing with its BDUK plan?

    2. Deduction says:

      Indeed, the idiot the other week was claiming LLUs cherry pick, BT havent even bothered enabling ADSL2+ to everyone.

  9. zemadeiran says:

    OK, so we still have not got to the meat…

    Personally I feel that running passive splitters in each cab would be the way to go and the attenuation due to the splitting would not really effect things too much.

    If Openreach run 10gbps down each strand that would be grand 🙂 100gbps would be sufficient for most streets I think.

    All I would need for my lunatic family would be 100mbps down/as much as possible up. Upload is fantastic for home working which would have a tremendous impact on traffic and pollution.

    I ftp a lot of shit and waiting around at 100KBps is fucking awful in this day and age 🙁

    I do not see upload being at all important for p2p due to the number of seeds on the good shit that you want. If your doing something creative etc then yes THAT requires as much upload speed as possible aka youtube.

    BT are not worried about damaging their leased line business with this product.

    FibreFred and Deduction, meet up, have a coffee and smoke a spliff….

    There are more important things in life then wasting time arguing. Health, family, contributing to something positively.

    If you two put your energy into campaigning for something future proof, then THAT would be worth reading.

    1. FibreFred says:

      You best invite most of the people that comment on here to that coffee morning, as he seems to disagree with most on here whereas I tend to agree with most on here. That must tell you something ? 🙂 (awaits multi-id comment sigh)

      They must be using 10Gbps back to the exchange with this product yes, and when new optics become available it will be able to increased as well, this should certainly see us right for many years

  10. Deduction says:

    Id say thats the other way roound, the only people you agree with is the same people or rather IDs. I quite often agree with zemadeiran and Slowsomerset…. Which funnily enough in this news item i also do. Best call on some of your multi IDs to even things out 😉

  11. Deduction says:

    PS… DTMark also, I quite often agree with him.

  12. zemadeiran says:

    Nice to be agreed with DT 😉

    FibreFred, do you really want to be left out of the world class ispreview annual hyperband convention/coffee morning?

    “They must be using 10Gbps back to the exchange with this product yes, and when new optics become available it will be able to increased as well, this should certainly see us right for many years”

    If THEY… lay the fiber foundations now, we would indeed have a future proof network for everyone be they in the sticks or sitting on top of Nelson’s column.

    The limiting factor on speed is really the hardware conversion from light to electrons. THEY… have nearly/already cracked optical switching which should improve things like SFP’s no end.

    Let us trip the light fantastic 🙂

  13. Deduction says:

    Id bring him some fibre to the meeting………. In the form of an iron bar maybe LOL 😉

  14. litesp33d says:

    This is just a way for BT to get the EU and the technical illiterate councilors of Cornwall to cough up millions for something that grabs headlines but will do very little for the vast majority of South Westerners who will still not get basic 2Meg. This BTW is taxpayers money. And increases BT’s monopoly on wholesale provision even more so.

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